Let me tell you my story when I discovered one of my favorite authors: it was during the time when he first visited Philippines, I was a high school student back then. I have no idea who he is but I was attracted by the way he looks (hey, he’s really good-looking!) and how he is portrayed as the “Dream King” or the “Sandman,” but what really caught my attention is that he was (still is) the “Prince of Stories.” Sounds enticing and interesting, no? (Also, aside him looking yummy—damn you, Amanda Palmer for marrying Neil! What a lucky, lucky woman). It was only when I reached college I was able to buy and read his books. It was kind of sad because I wasn’t able to read his works way back high school; that’s why I make it sure I get to read his works every year as much as possible. So far, I’ve read most of his novels!
For the month of February, I decided to pick-up his most famous work because it was adapted into a motion picture starring Claire Dane, Charlie Cox, and Sienna Miller (Oh, pretentiousness aside, I just googled that. I haven’t seen the film yet!)—Stardust. It is a story set in a town called the Wall, and as described in the book, it sounds British (I mean, of course, Gaiman was born in England!) and on the other side separated by the wall is the Fraerie. Most of the parts told us about the life and adventures of this young foolish lad named Tristran Thorn. He was in-love with this woman named Victoria Forester and he will do anything to kiss her or whatever he desires (he even told her lengthy promises just for that! What a hopeless romantic), but Victoria is also a foolish one, she told Tristan to fetch the star that they saw fell when they were walking in exchange of what Tristran asked. And next thing, Tristran enters Faerie.
That’s the first story arc of the novel. I didn’t find myself that interested about Tristran or his love for Victoria, it’s too foolish and annoying. My interest perked up when I entered Faerie. It was magical and wonderful as it is illustrated by Charles Vess. Also, the fallen star’s attitude is remarkable, she can be annoying with her strong rash attitude but I find it admirable :)
Anyway, the second story arc was set in Stormhold, in the mountains of Mt. Huon (the highest mountain of all highest mountains) where the eighty-first Lord of Stormhold lay dying on his deathbed. It was proper for him to transfer the kingdom to his heir but he has 3 remaining sons (4 were dead, and killed by their own brothers). Only one would be the eighty-second Lord of Stormhold and Master of the High Crags. So when he summoned his sons, he showed them the Power of Stormhold—it is in the form of topaz with heavy silver chain—one must have their hands on this topaz and he threw it out to the sky full of stars… A star fell that night.
This is my favorite because I really find these guys (I don’t know what to call them, uhm, maybe the sons of the eighty-first Lord of Stormhold? But it’s so long!) funny because of how they trick each other like it is a game. It makes the story more exciting!)
Then the last story arc was about the Lilim. In a cottage in the middle of the forest lived three women of old age. They were called Lilim, because they were members of that coven of witch-queens, who forever plans to take-over the Kingdom of Stormhold. Within the context of the story, these three old women are witches and they gain their youth and beauty by feeding themselves with the heart of a fallen star. They knew and felt that there’s one walking among them in Faerie and they were determine to capture the fallen star and have their beauty and youth restored again.
This is also a good one because this put more excitement to the reader because we care for the safety of the fallen star. Also, witches are really evil and really scary sometimes. It adds to the thrill and magic in the story—I mean, how one cannot be thrilled when you are chased by an evil witch who carries two knives to cut your heart out? Blood scenes are not censored in Charles Vess’ illustrations!
All in all, the story arcs built a really good story with its twist and turn of events. I am quite amused how Gaiman merged three story arcs into one. I caught me surprise when I reached the end! Gaiman really lives up the title of being the Prince of Stories :)
“But I have no wish to be a lord of anywhere,” he told her, “or of anything, except perhaps my lady’s heart.” And he took the star’s hand in his, and he pressed it to his breast, and smiled.
“He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called.”